Garden City overpowers Yorktown in state semis
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HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — Heading into Wednesday's NYS Class B semifinal, the general consensus was that Yorktown needed to play a perfect game to shock undefeated Garden City.
And perfection just wasn't in the cards.
The Trojans, who entered the game as No. 1 team in both the MSG Varsity Tri-State Lacrosse Top 20 and the Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse Top 25, overpowered the Huskers in all facets of the game en route to a convincing 14-4 win.
Section 8's Garden City (21-0) will now look to win its fifth state title in program history and first since 2000. The Trojans, who have lost back-to-back state championship games, hope the third time's a charm as they face Section 5's Irondequoit on Saturday at Middletown's Faller Field at 5 p.m.
For Yorktown (16-5), the dream of a seventh state title was dashed inside the final two minutes and 54 seconds of the second quarter. Garden City closed out the half with a furious four-goal run, turning a competitive 6-3 game into a lopsided 10-3 blowout.
Cody George (2G), Devin Dwyer (1G, 7A), Mark Ellis (2G) and Ed Blatz (1G) scored a goal apiece during the decisive run. The final three goals came in the span of 37 seconds.
“I remember feeling like we were in the game and then boom, boom, boom, boom it was four goals in a row,” said Huskers coach Dave Marr, who won the program's last state title in 2003 as a first-year coach. “It took all the air out of us. Playing that caliber team, it's hard to get back into it.”
While things eventually took a turn for the worse, Yorktown actually got off to a strong start. The offense moved the ball well in opening quarter and created a slew of scoring opportunities. Nick Mariano converted one at the 7:49 mark to give the Huskers an early 1-0 lead.
And then it started to all snowball downhill.
Garden City reeled off six straight goals to grab a 6-1 lead with 7:08 left in the second quarter. Dwyer, a Harvard-bound attackman, orchestrated the stretch like Mozart. He dished out assists on the first five goals, dicing up Yorktown's defense with an array of backside looks.
Johns Hopkins-bound junior Trevor Koelsch — the Huskers' top defenseman — was given the difficult task of limiting Dwyer.
“I get a feel for my guy each game and today I felt really confident with the matchup,” Dwyer said. “My team does a great job of clearing space and getting open for me.”
Coming into the game, Marr knew it would be an uphill battle containing Garden City's top playmaker.
“(Dwyer) is a five-time starter for Garden City, so you aren't dealing with a normal player,” Marr said. “(Trevor Koelsch) did the best he could. We tried not to slide and not give him any open looks, but it didn't work out for us.”
For the Trojans, it was more of the same. They have been one of the most dangerous offensive squads in the Tri-State this season, averaging 13.71 goals a game. In addition to Dwyer, Duke-bound attackman Justin Guterding (4G) and UPenn-bound middie Patric Berkery (3G) had big games.
“Our offense is really coming through lately,” said Dwyer, who has amassed the most points on Long Island this year with 108. “Everyone on our offense is capable. The whole thing for us is that we have to possess the ball.”
With freshman faceoff specialist James Sullivan controlling the dot, Garden City had little trouble with that. Sullivan went 13 of 16 at the draw and the Trojans were 15 of 21 as a team. They also out-ground balled Yorktown 28-19.
“When the ball was on the ground and we had to fight for it, (Garden City) was a little bit faster or stronger than we were today,” Marr said. “We need a little bit more weight room work and we will hopefully do a little better next season.”
Overall, Garden City's size, strength and speed proved too much for Yorktown in between the restraining boxes.
“Physically, I think they were stronger than us all over the field,” Marr said.
Offensively, Conor Gately paced the Huskers with a team-high two goals. Connor Vercruysse added a fourth-quarter goal. The four goals matched a season-low for Yorktown, which came into the day averaging 13 goals a game. UVA-bound goalie Dan Marino was a big reason for it, spearheading the Trojans' strong defensive effort with nine saves.
Yorktown starting netminder Austin Graham had five saves and backup Zach Reilly stopped one shot.
GAME NOTES: Yorktown and Garden City have met in the state playoffs nine times since 1985. The Trojans now hold a 5-4 advantage in the all-time series. The Huskers, who have won six state titles, haven't gotten past Long Island in the state semifinal game since they last won it all in 2003 … Yorktown senior attackman Conor Gately finished an impressive year with a team-high 116 points (37G, 79A), becoming the first Yorktown player since Mike McCall (Class of '01) to crack 100 points in a season … Junior attackman Nick Mariano led the Huskers in overall goals with 49.
All-time Garden City vs. Yorktown state semifinal results
1985: Garden City 11, Yorktown 10
1986: Garden City 7, Yorktown 4
1987: Yorktown 9, Garden City 8
1990: Yorktown 7, Garden City 6
1991: Yorktown 12, Garden City 7
1993: Yorktown 8, Garden City 5
1994: Garden City 16, Yorktown 9
2011: Garden City 10, Yorktown 8
2012: Garden City 14, Yorktown 4
Overall: Garden City 5, Yorktown 4
Yorktown 1 2 0 1 4
Garden City 3 7 3 1 14
YT (7:49) Nick Mariano unassisted | 1-0 YT
GC (4:51) Patric Berkery from Devin Dwyer | 1-1 *
GC (2:31) Justin Guterding from Dwyer | 2-1 GC
GC (0:11) Liam Kennedy from Dwyer | 3-1 GC
GC (7:30) Guterding from Dwyer | 4-1 GC
GC (7:24) Guterding from Dwyer | 5-1 GC
GC (7:08) Mark Ellis unassisted | 6-1 GC
YT (5:54) Conor Gately unassisted | 6-2 GC
YT (4:37) Gately unassisted | 6-3 GC
GC (2:54) Cody George from Kennedy | 7-3 GC
GC (1:27) Dwyer unassisted | 8-3 GC
GC (1:14) Ellis unassisted | 9-3 GC
GC (0:50) Ed Blatz unassisted | 10-3 GC
GC (11:25) Guterding from Dwyer | 11-3 GC *
GC (7:14) Berkery unassisted | 12-3 GC
GC (3:29) Berkery from Dwyer | 13-3 GC
GC (9:21) George from Ryan Norton | 14-3 GC
YT (8:52) Connor Vercruysse unassisted | 14-4 GC
* Indicates man-up goal
Email Isaac Cass at Icass@cablevision.com | Follow him on Twitter @MSGV_Icass